Mailbag: Will Sox bring in familiar arm?

Mailbag: Will Sox bring in a familiar arm?

Why wouldn't the Sox try to go after Mike Gonzalez to fill their pitching void? The Pirates aren't asking for to much and a three-way trade with Atlanta is still a possibility. That seems like the cheapest and most reliable closer option. Who do you think they would have to give up?
-- Tyler P., Toronto

I'm sure that Gonzalez is one of the players the Sox are trying to acquire in a trade. Don't forget that general manager Theo Epstein nearly landed Gonzalez in a trade in June 2003. In fact, he was property of the Red Sox for a couple of weeks. The Sox acquired Gonzalez and Scott Sauerbeck in exchange for Brandon Lyon and Anastacio Martinez. But after Lyon had medical issues, the Sox had to give Gonzalez back to Pittsburgh. Not sure what the price is, but I'm sure the Red Sox are monitoring the situation.

Since Roger Clemens isn't going to return to Houston because Andy Pettitte is now gone, I've heard rumors that he might want to retire in a Red Sox uniform. But then again, they are possibly just rumors. What are the chances to get Clemens back in a Red Sox uniform? He would be a great addition to an already solid pitching rotation.
-- Dan H., Fairfield, Conn.

I think it's presumptuous to say that Clemens isn't going back to Houston because Pettitte isn't. Clemens became a legend by being a leader, not a follower. He will do whatever is in the best interest of himself and his family.

Honestly, I thought the Red Sox had a better chance at the Rocket last year. If he decided to go back to Houston in 2006, why won't he do that again in '07? I really don't think the Pettitte situation has all that much bearing on it. Clemens' family is entrenched in Houston and he is an iconic figure there. Not to mention the fact that his son is in the Astros' Minor League system.

I am planning on going to Spring Training. I would like to know what the date is of the first day of Spring Training.
-- Dave O., New Bedford, Mass.

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 16. The following day is the first workout. Position players report on Feb. 20, with the first full-squad workout the day after that. The Red Sox open their exhibition schedule on Feb. 28.

Will the Sox consider moving Jon Lester to the closer's role? They have no one now and a full starting staff. If he's healthy, is this a possibility for him? I mean at least for one year until Curt Schilling retires.
-- Mike R., Tucson, Ariz.

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I highly doubt it. Lester has been a starter his whole life. To ask him to all of a sudden ask him to be a closer doesn't seem fair. Also, given the type of winter he is coming off of, I think the Red Sox would like the lefty to have as much normalcy as possible once he starts pitching again.

Is Pokey Reese still in the league? I was looking him up the other day and found nothing.
-- Steve S., Ashaway, R.I.

Reese was in camp with the Marlins last year and basically went AWOL. He then let it be known that injuries had robbed him of his love for the game, and he considered himself retired. That's the last I've heard. It's a shame. When Reese showed up to Red Sox Spring Training in 2004, he had boundless energy. I'm not sure what happened between then and now, but he definitely seemed to lose his enthusiasm for the game.

Will David Murphy have a job with the Sox in the future or are they going to trade him away? If they trade him away, what kind of player do you think we can land for him?
-- Kyle C., Bristol, N.H.

Nobody knows quite what to make of Murphy yet. At the very least, I think he could be a very good backup outfielder. But there is still plenty of time for him to prove he's an everyday player. He still needs more seasoning in the Minors. At this point, he wouldn't bring a whole lot in a trade because scouts seem to be split on him.

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.